A new issue of Rudy Rucker's rebel webzine Flurb is always cause for major celebration. It only comes out a couple times a year, packed with enough weirdness for a thousand regular SF mags. The Spring/Summer issue is out now.
Flurb #10 is one of the best issues so far, and every story has uniquely Ruckerian moments of disconcertment and poetry. Rucker, himself, contributes the heart-breaking "Val and Me," a tale of an experimental microscope gone wrong. It's also your first chance to preview his new fantasy novel Jim And The Flims, since "Val And Me" is the novel's first couple chapters. Jim is a biotech worker who's sort of dropped out after feeding his coworkers mutant eels. The story contains the quintessentially Rucker line:
Again I had that feeling of reality being a laminate of layers-and that some of the layers were flaking off.
The other stories in Flurb #10 are also amazing, including Jessy Randall's "Alphabet Island," about a bizarre graphology experiment gone horribly wrong, and "Clod, Pebble" by Kathe Koja and Carter Scholz. My favorite, though, might be Kek's "Search," in which artificial intelligences discover the souls of the recently dead out in the fringes of our solar system — and discover a way to bring the dead back to life. This leads to the main character (who's addicted to using the Google implant in his head) meeting his late, not-terribly-lamented stepdad, Uncle Jack. And then the quantum zombies dance:
As the music shuddered, rolled and swirled, the Deadfolk seemed to come alive. I felt like a geriatric by comparison, drunkenly shuffling from foot to foot while they arched their backs and swiveled their boneless hips, bending slowly back and forth like a nest of horny snakes. I caught glimpses of faces in the crowd-Deadgals, their eyes flashing like tiny mirror-balls, mouths half-open as they whisper-mimed the words of some half-forgotten urban diva. They looked like liquid archetypes, fallen angels that were unafraid of death. But even though I was school-kid curious to know what these folks did for kicks I still wasn't quite ready to dance one-on-one with a Deadgal.
The music was decades old-archaic AquaCrunk and robotic Wonk-but the vocoderized lyrics, syrupy samples and synth-patches now seemed strangely prescient, as if they'd been specifically created to serve that moment. I had a serious drunk on, but it felt like the past, present and future had all just collided in front of me, recombining in some way that I couldn't quite quantify. The evening became a blurred snapshot that seemed to catch human beings in the act of becoming something else. It felt like I was witnessing the start of some mass migration.
Amazing stuff. Check it out. (Oh, and a wee disclaimer: I have been a semi-regular contributor to Flurb in the past.) [Flurb.net]